Essential Power Ballads: The Modern Edition

For the past seven weeks, I’ve recommended a list of classic power ballads to music fans, and this week, I wrap up the list with a batch of more modern-day songs that fit the style. Enjoy!

Rihanna- “California King Bed”


This song from Rihanna’s album Loud is a down-to-the-numbers power ballad. I’m not terribly well-versed in her catalog, but her singles are unavoidable, and I can say with confidence that out of everything I’ve heard from her, this tune provides us with her best vocal performance to date. She actually SINGS, and that’s certainly better than that Barbadan yodeling she usually does. Listen for the huge choruses, and the guitar solo (!!!). For me, this is the best song in her entire discography, short of “Bitch Better Have My Money,” of course.  Continue reading

Essential Power Ballads, Vol. 7

This week marks the seventh and final installment of my Essential Power Ballads series, at least as far as the classic songs are concerned. Next Tuesday, a bonus edition will be posted with some more modern power ballads!

Boston- “Amanda”


The first track off of the band’s third album, the aptly-titled Third Stage, “Amanda” eventually became Boston’s highest-charting single in the United States. The band’s lead singer, the inimitable Brad Delp (who committed suicide in a bizarre fashion in 2007) passionately sings about telling the song’s namesake for the first time that he loves her. He relates in no uncertain terms what a nerve-wracking challenge that is for most men, so hopefully she returned the sentiment. The song also features a wailing solo from guitar genius Tom Scholz, who along with Delp’s vocals, provides much of the band’s signature sound. Continue reading

Essential Power Ballads, Vol. 6

Another five emotional rock ballads are being served up to you this week, with more coming next Tuesday!

Bon Jovi– “Never Say Goodbye”


A power ballad list would never be complete without New Jersey’s favorite prom song (it even references the prom) from Bon Jovi’s breakthrough record, Slippery When Wet. The song’s musical structure is emotionally gripping, and its lyrics pine for days gone by, youthful hijinx, and the retention of those memories. This is one of those songs that makes me miss when Bon Jovi was great, as well as those relatively carefree days of my own youth.  Continue reading

Essential Power Ballads, Vol. 5

Volume 5 of this continuing series on the tear-jerking rock songs you need in your life is here!

Aerosmith– “Angel”


Kicking off with a cascade of sound from the legendary Joe Perry’s guitar and Joey Kramer on the drums, this huge hit from Aerosmith’s 1987 album Permanent Vacation features impassioned vocals from frontman Steven Tyler, and an all-around emotional sonic landscape that you’d expect from any great power ballad. Seriously, you’re going to want to listen to the opening of the song over and over again. The 80’s rock music scene was obsessed with keyboards, and in this song, the band used the instrument to synthesize violin music.  Continue reading

Essential Power Ballads, Vol. 4

Welcome to the fourth installment of my guide to essential power ballads!

Journey– “Faithfully”


Let’s just all agree that there has never been a voice out there quite like that of Steve Perry…except for that of Journey’s current lead singer, Arnel Pineda, who sounds EXACTLY LIKE HIM. Anyway, this beautiful power ballad slowly builds to a big finale as Perry ponders his life as a touring musician, but makes a vow of faithfulness to his significant other. Undoubtedly my favorite Journey song.  Continue reading

Essential Power Ballads, Vol. 3

Welcome back, once again, for a new crop of sappy rockers that you must get into your ears and hearts! Essential Power Ballads, Volume 3 is here!

Europe- “Carrie”


Swedish rockers Europe, the same guys who brought you the infinitely cheesy, space-themed “The Final Countdown”, offered up this by-the-numbers power ballad from the same wildly-successful album. Subdued verses, keyboards, big choruses, guitar solo. It’s all there.  Continue reading

Essential Power Ballads, Vol. 2

If you’ve read my first guide to Essential Power Ballads, I hope you enjoyed it! Welcome to Volume 2!

KISS- “Forever”


A sappy gem from the Unmasked era, and co-written by Michael Bolton, “Forever” showcases a sincere Paul Stanley making a promise of eternity to his love. Stanley doesn’t have a great voice, but his passion makes up for that in spades, at least for this song.  It turns out that the band that brought us such family-friendly hits as “Let’s Put The X In Sex”, “Love Gun” and “Lick It Up” has a soft side after all. Continue reading

Essential Power Ballads, Vol. 1

Since I love 80’s music, and since I’m also a huge sap, I have decided to start a series for like-minded readers of The No Seatbelt Blog. Welcome to my guide to essential power ballads! Each volume will feature five tearjerkers that are loaded with lyrics of love and heartbreak, loud choruses and louder guitars. If you’re a fan of those songs from the 80’s (and a few stragglers from the first couple years of the 90’s) that made you pull out your lighter (or cell phone, nowadays) and sway while you sing along at the top of your lungs, take a trip down memory lane with me. Volume 1 of Essential Power Ballads begins now… Continue reading